Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Yikes, my Toshiba touch screen stopped working!!!

I bought a hot new Toshiba notebook computer at the end of the year, a Toshiba Satellite P50-AST3GX2, with Windows 8.1. I even paid an extra $200 to get a touch screen. The machine works great, but a couple of times a week the touch screen stops responding. Everything else about the machine still works, but I have to use the track pad and keys to navigate and make selections. I still don't know what cause the touch screen to stop working, but I do have a quick workaround. Sure, of course you can shut down and reboot the machine, but that's too inconvenient.
What's the workaround for a touch screen that is non-responsive? Simple: Just toggle the Wi-Fi mode twice. That's the F12 (or FN+F12 keys, depending on whether you have function keys enabled). In my case I modified the function key configuration so that just pressing the ley labeled with both the F12 and Wi-Fi labels is the same as the old-style F12 key, so I need to press the FN+F12 keys to toggle airplane mode. Press FN+F12 once to toggle airplane mode, wait a couple of seconds until the popup message confirms the new airplane mode, and then hit FN+F12 again to toggle airplane mode back to what you really wanted it to be. The first press of FN+F12 is what resets the touch screen and restores full touch features. If you haven't changed the function keys settings, just use the F12 key alone.
In short, in takes a couple of seconds to re-enable the touch screen by toggled FN+F12 twice, but that's hardly the biggest annoyance in my life these days.
I really like the touch screen a lot.
The one thing I don't like about this machine is that since it is a "hot" i7-based machine, it has a bigger and bulkier power adapter which is a pain for travel.
-- Jack Krupansky